MORE than half a century after the classic Disney caper delighted film fans, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is beginning to cast its spell on stage.

Southampton audiences are being treated to the world premiere tour of the bonkers yet beautiful tale this week.

And, as ever with Disney, no expense is spared and every detail is perfect, from Lion King style puppets to a flying bed a la Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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It's your classic Mary Poppins tale of live action mixed with animation, only a good deal more bizarre.

A relationship develops between the lead characters as they go on an adventure with some children with very vivid imaginations.

A school of luminous fish swim on stage in just one of a number of brilliant ensemble pieces performed so spectacularly to the sounds of a live orchestra and a part old part new score.

Daily Echo:

As the curtain rises, a neat bedroom in a period property in central London is blown apart with a deafening bomb blast, leaving a pile of ruins and three orphaned children.

The Rawlins siblings board a train to be evacuated from the capital and wind up in a sinister museum awaiting their fate.

Their reluctant charge, eccentric trainee witch Eglantine Price (the suitably enchanting Dianne Pilkington) and her magician love interest Professor Emelius Browne (Charles Brunton, a sparkling companion), learn to love the trio.

Daily Echo:

It's a show full of magic and fantasy. Think a broomstick with a mind of its own, a briny ballroom at the bottom of the sea, a menagerie of puppet animals and, of course, a bewitched bedknob.

Disney have done it again. I suspect this production won't have the longevity of their other screen to stage adaptations, but for now, it's bobbing along beautifully.

  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks runs until Saturday. Tickets from or 023 8071 1811.